Farewell to the horse world’s great and good

H&H reports the passing of individuals who have made a significant contribution to the horse world. Funerals and memorial details will be included where possible.

November

Ann Marie Pomphret

Family and friends have paid tribute to Ms Pomphret, who was found dead on 2 November.

The 49-year-old was heavily involved in dressage, including volunteering at Somerford Park Farm and Bolesworth.

Somerford director Debbie King said Ms Pomphret had played a huge part in running the Premier League events after Debbie’s daughter Amelia King took them over in recent years.

“She was absolutely brilliant,” Debbie King said. “She was incredibly generous and kind-hearted, and gave up so much of her time; it’s incredibly sad.”

Ms King paid tribute to the volume of work Ms Pomphret undertook as a volunteer, and to her “delightful” family.

“She’s going to be missed so much,” she said.

In a statement, Ms Pomphret’s family said: “Marie was a beloved daughter, wife
and mother. She loved nothing more than spending time with her family out in nature, looking after their horses.

“We are devastated that she has been taken from us so young and in such a senseless way.”

October

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Tributes have been paid from across the sporting world to the football, racing and polo magnate who died in a helicopter crash on 27 October aged 60.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was chairman of Leicester City Football Club and a huge supporter of polo and racing.

He had 67 horses in training with seven different trainers, under his King Power banner, and was a keen polo player.

His teams have dominated the British high-goal circuit in recent years, with King Power Foxes winning the Gold Cup for the British Open championship in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The Thai billionaire businessman developed the King Power base in Sussex into one of the world’s largest polo facilities.

He employed many of the world’s best polo players, including Argentine 10-goalers Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres, and gave chances to young British players to ride on the world stage as part of his teams.

A statement from the Hurlingham Polo Association said the sport has “lost one of its great supporters” who will be “sorely missed by the whole polo community”.

A minute’s silence was held ahead of racing at Leicester on 29 October, and jockeys wore black armbands in his memory.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust said Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s death is “a tragedy for the world of sport and horseracing”.

“His enthusiasm for racing was clear and I am sure that we had only seen the beginnings of what would have been a tremendous love affair,” said Mr Rust, adding his investment “helped support the livelihoods of many people” within the racing industry.

“Our thoughts go to his friends and family, and those within racing who shared and enjoyed his love of the sport, and to the loved ones of all those who perished in this tragic accident.”

Susie Woodhouse

A dedicated huntswoman, eventer and horse trials organiser, Mrs Woodhouse died in October aged 91.

She evented in the 1960s, competing at Badminton in 1969 aboard Corchy, and was a master of the Portman.

Mrs Woodhouse served as an eventing steward for many years and in 1976 she and her husband John set up Portman Horse Trials, which remains on the eventing calendar today, and helped found Lulworth Castle Horse Trials.

A memorial service will be held at 2pm on 9 November at St Peter & St Paul’s Church in Blandford Forum, North Dorset.

John Mead

A passionate supporter of dressage, Mr Mead died in October aged 86.

He had a successful career in the motor industry, but dressage was his joy.

Mr Mead owned horses, including Giovanni who was ridden by Ferdi Eilberg, and had an interest in breeding. He started his judge training in the 1980s, progressing through the rankings to become a British Dressage (BD) list one and FEI judge. BD judges director Peter Storr said Mr Mead was a “highly respected man within the judging community and dressage as a whole”.

“His contribution to dressage over the years, both here in Great Britain and throughout the world, has been immense and he’ll be fondly remembered by so many for his wisdom, generosity and fairness,” added Mr Storr.

“He was always approachable and encouraging. We have lost an excellent judge and a dear friend. Our prayers are with his family at this sad time.”

A requiem mass will be held for Mr Mead today (Thursday, 8 November) at 2.30pm at Holy Cross RC Church in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield.

Ralph Powley

Mr Powley, a true countryman, died from cancer on 10 October aged 74.

His father, Bill Powley, was head herdsman to Bendor, second Duke of Westminster, and Ralph’s early days were spent with his father and two brothers minding the shorthorn cattle.

He went on to work for the Duke’s daughter, Lady Mary Grosvenor, looking after her hunters and other horses, enjoying many days following hounds.

Mr Powley’s family moved to other estate farms and he honed his hunting, shooting and fishing skills whenever he had a spare moment and would ride with the Wynnstay three times a week.

Mr Powley had two children with his first wife, Jill. He went on to set up a yard breaking and producing horses as well as looking after hunter liveries with his second wife, Pat.

His holidays were spent hunting with fell packs in Cumbria, particularly the Blencathra, and he enjoyed fishing with friends at Ddol Farm on the River Dee.

His memorial service at St Mary’s Church, Coddington, on 24 October was packed with family and friends, as was the village hall where the service was relayed.

George Crawford

A talented and courageous young rider, George Crawford died on 7 October aged 20 after he was hit by a car.

He had recently enrolled on an agricultural course at Harper Adams University and had already formed a strong friendship group.

His father, Cameron Crawford, remembered his son as a “multi-talented, cracking young man with a twinkle in his eye” who enriched the lives of others.

“In his halls at Harper Adams he managed to gel 24 students into a lovely group of friends and he’d been there less than two weeks,” said Mr Crawford.

George was passionate about the countryside, skiing, riding and enduro motocross, and had many friends in the equestrian world.

He had success on the northern pony racing circuit, winning at point-to-point pony races as well as at fixtures held at major northern racecourses.

In 2016, George and his younger sister, Lucinda, finished second and first in their respective sections at Kirriemuir to qualify for the under-18 national eventing championships at Frickley, where George was pathfinder.

George, who had a love of travel and adventure completed a ski guiding and advanced skiing course in Meribel last winter and this summer he took part in the “Rust 2 Rome” banger rally — a driving adventure in a car costing less than £500 from Edinburgh to the Colosseum in Rome.

During the December floods of 2015, George helped his uncle, James Manners, and huntsman Johnny Richardson rescue seven horses who were stranded by fast-flowing floodwater.

“George was a natural leader even though he didn’t know it; everyone was drawn to him, he had a magnetic personality and always seemed to draw the best out of people — horses, too,” said Mr Crawford, adding that his son was a “true horseman” with natural balance and ability.

“He was one of those people who wanted to help and, wherever he went, he would make people feel comfortable.”

Ann Glenn

A stalwart of the Scottish eventing community, Mrs Glenn died on 3 October aged 86 following a short illness.

Ann and her husband Douglas, who passed away in 2008, were at the heart of Scottish eventing.

They were part of the original Horse Trials Group, part of the British Horse Society that later evolved to become BE, and both received BE awards for their service in 2003.

Ann, known as “Wicked”, was the chief scorer in the Scottish region for many years and a vital helper at many events, including Blair Castle, Auchinleck and Barskimming.

Bert Romp

The Dutch showjumping team wore black armbands at the Nations Cup final in Barcelona in memory of former Olympic rider Bert Romp, who died on 4 October.

Mr Romp had been injured the previous day while loading a horse and, despite the best efforts of medics, died in hospital a month before his 60th birthday.

Mr Romp had represented his country at two Olympics as a rider, on the gold medal-winning team in Barcelona 1992 and in Atlanta in 1996. He was also part of the silver medal-winning European Championships team in 1997.

He went on to work as national coach of the Dutch showjumping team from 2000 to 2004, acting as chef d’equipe at the 2004 Olympics. He had been due to take up the post of national coach in Finland this month.

“Dutch showjumping has lost a great horseman,” said Maarten van der Heijden, top sports director at the Dutch federation (KNHS).

“The KNHS wishes all relatives a lot of strength to give this terrible loss a place. Bert will be missed very much.”

Mr Romp had three sons, Remon, 30, Ruben, 28, and Jesper, 23, who followed in their father’s footsteps to compete at top level.

Ruben and Jesper won medals at young rider and junior European Championships and Ruben was a member of the senior Dutch team at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg.

Christopher (Kit) Stobbs

The former jockey and head lad to Arthur (WA) Stephenson has died at the age of 87.

Mr Stobbs rode a number of notable winners during his career in the saddle, including a four-timer at Wetherby on Easter Monday in 1964.

He won the 1961 Scottish Grand National aboard Kinmont Wullie and the 1968 Festival Trophy Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Battledore.

Mr Stobbs also scored a win over the Grand National fences at Aintree, in the 1962 Becher Chase on Mr Jones.

One of the best-known horses he rode was Cocky Consort, with whom he finished third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1962.

David Barker

Mr Barker, who died on 7 October aged 83, excelled in showjumping, hunter showing, and as a huntsman. He was a great personality and a remarkable sportsman, who won many admirers. Prince Charles called him a “hero of the countryside”.

Mr Barker’s outstanding talent as a rider was matched by his skills in the handling and showing of hounds.

The son of a Yorkshire farmer, he rode and hunted from childhood, and succeeded as a junior showjumper. In 1958, he bought thoroughbred Franco out of training and they soared to the top in showjumping. Mr Barker rode Franco in Britain’s Olympic team in Rome in 1960, but was eliminated at the last fence. He and Franco later won in Rome, Rotterdam, Ostend and Geneva.

Two years later, Mr Barker scored a great victory in the men’s European Championships on John Massarella’s Mister Softee at the Royal International. Dorian Williams described him as “perhaps the greatest stylist of the modern school now riding.”

Setting up a stud in the Whaddon Chase country, Mr Barker later switched from showjumping to producing winning show hunters, among them Balmoral, Whaddon Way and Silversmith, owned by Lady Zinnia Judd. He whipped-in to his friend Albert Buckle, huntsman of the Whaddon Chase, who handed over the huntsman’s role to Mr Barker from 1980.

In 1986, he became huntsman of the Meynell and South Staffordshire where his talent as a rider over a challenging country helped to provide great sport. He produced the Meynell hounds to a high order, winning major awards at Peterborough.

After 13 seasons, he retired from hunting to live in the Staffordshire moorland country where he kennelled the hounds, and his wife Elaine hunted them with much success for a decade.

She said: “I had a great teacher.David loved all his riding, but he was happiest of all in the hunting field.”

Margaret Findlay

The joint owner of the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman died on 7 October at the age of 86.

A former nurse, Mrs Findlay was a great supporter of the racing industry. She was the official joint owner of the legendary chaser, who died in June — her son, professional gambler Harry Findlay’s, share in the horse was represented in her name.

Twenty-time champion jockey AP McCoy and current champion jockey Richard Johnson were among those to pay tribute to Mrs Findlay, who was described as “always a happy face at the races”.

September

Major Jeremy Langlands

A long-serving member of British Eventing (BE), Major Langlands died from cancer on
10 September aged 70.

He was a well-known figure on the southern eventing circuit, acting as the health and safety advisor for many events.

“He was passionate about the sport and his contributions will be remembered,” said a spokesman for BE.

He leaves behind his wife, Selena, children Lucinda, Andrew and George, and four grandchildren.

Peter Robeson

The legendary showjumper, who won two Olympic medals and rode for Britain more than 80 times, died peacefully at home aged 88, on 29 September.

Mr Robeson rode at his first Olympics in Stockholm in 1956, where he won team bronze aboard Pat Smythe’s Scorchin.

Eight years later, he took individual bronze at the 1964 Games with Firecrest, then represented Britain at the 1976 Olympics with Law Court.

During his showjumping career, which spanned more than 40 years, he won numerous grand prix titles and the King George V Gold Cup at the 1967 Royal International Horse Show.
His best-known rides, in addition to his Olympic mounts, were Craven A and Grebe.

In 1955, he married Renée Louise Marie de Rotshschild, setting up home at their stud in Tyringham, Newport Pagnell, where they owned and trained racehorses. Mr Robeson had day-to-day involvement in the stud, which was run under the guidance of trainer Stuart Edmunds. He was also involved as a coach and event horse owner for Stuart and Harriet Edmunds, Stuart’s daughter.

“It was a privilege to know and work alongside Peter, who I can only term as a ‘legend’,” said Stuart. “His horsemanship was second to none across all areas of equestrianism; he was quite extraordinary. He even rode in a few races himself, which very few will know, and he was tremendous across all disciplines.”

Di Lampard, British Showjumping’s World Class performance manager, described Mr Robeson as a “classical horseman of our time”.

“He was a perfectionist and a true professional,” she said. “He rode with natural style and total empathy, and his riding was an absolute inspiration to me.”

British Showjumping chief executive Iain Graham added: “We have lost a true sportsman who delivered so much for the sport over the many decades of his involvement. I speak on behalf of everyone at British Showjumping when I express our sincere condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Sam Morshead

Former leading jump jockey and manager of Perth racecourse Mr Morshead died on 25 September, aged 63, following a long illness.

Mr Morshead rode more than 400 winners during his career in the saddle during the 1970s and 1980s, primarily for Fred and Mercy Rimell.

He was forced to change career following a fall at Worcester in 1987, moving into racecourse management, and was credited with being the driving force behind Perth racecourse’s success.

He oversaw £6m of developments at Britain’s most northerly racecourse and the transformation drew bigger crowds and runners from top National Hunt yards.

Tributes have been paid from across the racing world and a minute’s silence was held in Perth racecourse’s parade ring ahead of the first race on 26 September.

Philip Broughton

Founder master of the Cranwell Bloodhounds, Mr Broughton died while out hunting on 30 September, aged 64.

After 25 years of following foxhounds, Mr Broughton and his wife, and joint founder master, Wendy Broughton, decided to form the Cranwell Bloodhounds pack in 1992 with a view to “providing a day in the countryside that everyone could enjoy”.

Mr Broughton hunted the hounds from the pack’s formation until his final day, passing away while the hounds were in full cry on the field.

He adored his hounds and is remembered for his hospitality, welcoming and encouraging people to enjoy many happy days of hunting.

The Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association, of which Mr Broughton was chairman, remembered him as “a true gentleman who will be sorely missed”.

Eddie Davies

One of equestrian sport’s leading owners, Mr Davies, died on 11 September aged 72.

Mr Davies owned horses ridden by Mary King and Billy Twomey, including top eventer Imperial Cavalier — who won Olympic silver, world gold and European bronze medals — and the star showjumping stallion Luidam.

Mr Davies and his wife Sue and daughter Janette Chinn also support up-and-coming eventer Yazmin Ingham, who is based at their Pewit Stud in Cheshire.

A businessman and philanthropist, he made his fortune in thermostats and kettle parts, but is arguably best known for owning Bolton Wanderers football club.

His financial support helped fund the club’s successful spell in the 2000s and he wrote off £175m in loans to the club to pave the way for a takeover by Sports Shield in 2016.

He was a former trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum, donated £100,000 to help establish a coronary care unit at Royal Bolton Hospital and has a library named after him at the Manchester Business School to mark his contributions to library services there.

Roger L Philpot

A stalwart of the side-saddle world, Mr Philpot, died suddenly this month aged 80.

Born in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, Mr Philpot followed his family tradition by starting his working life building property within the Coventry area.

In 1966, he bought Pittern Hill House and a little later, the adjoining stables, and enjoyed hunting with the Warwickshire.

He joined the Side Saddle Association in 1983, later serving as national chairman and vice chairman, and was elected president in April 2017.

Mr Philpot was a renowned trainer and judge and was instrumental in promoting
side-saddle riding in the UK and across the world.

He is survived by his son William, daughter Amanda, and grandchildren Alex and Adam.

August

Martin Loveday

One of the first members of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), Mr Loveday died in August aged 71.

Mr Loveday joined the family footwear business, Thomas H Loveday Ltd, in 1975, aged 29.

The company, which started as a horse collar manufacturer in the 17th century, moved to footwear nearly 300 years later with Mr Loveday’s grandfather at the helm.

It later expanded to include a wider range of equestrian clothing.

Mr Loveday attended a meeting in 1977 to discuss the formation of BETA and was one of the first to join. He was a member of BETA’s council for more than 25 years and also served as chairman and treasurer.

In 2010, he was given the BETA lifetime achievement award in recognition of his work.
“Without Martin, BETA would not have progressed to what it is today. He truly helped to shape the modern face of the equestrian trade,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams.

“He could be relied on for sound advice and, on a personal level, was a kind and gentle man, always willing to give assistance. He will be greatly missed.”

Veronica Spackman

A long-standing event organiser, Mrs Spackman, died on 28 August aged 89.

During her organising career, which spanned 40 years, she ran Tweseldown, Stilemans and Iping Horse Trials with her husband, Michael. The couple were the driving force of much of the eventing in Surrey and Sussex.

She retired from organising in 2014 at Iping.

Mrs Spackman mentored Rupert and Rebecca Harvie in setting up and running Munstead Horse Trials. This year, she attended Munstead to present the Michael Spackman Memorial Trophy, in memory of her husband who died in 2017.

Charles Harrison

The former senior eventing squad selector and Belton Horse Trials organiser died on 20 August, aged 92, following a short illness.

He was deeply involved in Lincolnshire’s agricultural and equestrian life. A farmer by trade, Mr Harrison was joint-master of the Belvoir Hunt for many years and was a director and latterly chief horse steward of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society.

He was a senior team selector during the 1980s and 90s, serving also as chef d’equipe at times.

Lord Brownlow invited him to start a horse trials at Belton in 1980, which Mr Harrison co-organised with Marjorie Comerford until 2004, when Stuart and Anna Buntine took over the role.

Mick O’Toole

The Cheltenham Gold Cup and Classic-winning trainer died on 22 August, aged 86.

He is best known as the trainer of 1977 Gold Cup winner Davy Lad, and trained eight Cheltenham Festival winners. On the Flat, he saddled Dickens Hill to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas in 1979, going on to take the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

He leaves wife Una, son Ciaran, a jockey agent, and daughter Margaret, a bloodstock agent.

July

Capt Alwyn Varley

The former eventer, coach, trainer and mentor has died aged 80 after suffering from cancer.

Born in York and from a farming background, Capt Varley originally showed Shire horses and Friesian cattle.

He was a great sportsman, playing rugby, boxing and swimming at county level for Yorkshire, before he was called up for National Service in 1956. He was deferred for agricultural reasons until 1957, when he joined the Household Cavalry, passing out as the top recruit in general military training and equitation.

He rose through the ranks, becoming the senior instructor, and competed in showjumping, dressage, team chasing, eventing and showing with many different types of horses. He loved eventing, and won at Tidworth, was consistently placed at Windsor three-day event and finished third at Bramham and sixth at Wylye. He also completed Burghley twice, and represented Great Britain at Boekelo and Fontainebleau.

After he was commissioned, Capt Varley became equitation officer and chief instructor at the Army School of Equitation. He jumped at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in the Foxhunter final, and competed at HOYS and Royal International (RIHS) many times, often on horses owned by The Queen. He taught several members of the Royal Family to ride and trained eventers who represented Britain at junior European level. He also trained the Irish eventing team.

Capt Varley left the Army in 1985 and taught at Newark Technical College, then moved to Brackenhurst, when he also became a showing judge for Sport Horse Breeding (GB) and the British Show Horse Association. He officiated at Burghley young event horse classes, and judged at county shows, RIHS, HOYS and national shows in the Netherlands, South Africa and Ireland, including five times at Royal Dublin.

He also trained riders for all disciplines, and produced point-to-pointers, who were placed in the Foxhunters at Aintree and the Maryland Hunt Cup in America, as well as winning ponies at HOYS.

A regular official at Burghley for more than 50 years, Capt Varley’s duties included stewarding, fence-judging and assisting the FEI ground jury. He also ran the start and finish boxes.

He enjoyed hunting, with some 20 packs, including serving as field master and whipping-in for the Staff College and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Drag Hunt, Windsor Forest Bloodhounds and the Cambridge Drag Hunt. He hunted regularly with the Belvoir and Quorn, and loved watching hounds work.

He leaves a widow, Anne, and two sons, Stephen and Gary.

Laura Barry

The promising jockey died on 13 July aged 25.

She had been suffering from a rare and aggressive form of cancer, diagnosed when she was 23, which had left her paralysed in her left leg. Ms Barry underwent treatment but there was no specific chemotherapy for her condition.

Trainer Richard Fahey, for whom Ms Barry had ridden, described her as a “wonderful person”, adding: “She’s a girl I’m very proud to have known”.

Ms Barry had ridden 18 winners between 2010 and 2014.

A spokesman for the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) said: “Everyone at the IJF is devastated to hear about the death of Laura Barry.

“She fought her cancer battle with such fortitude and it is simply so terribly sad.”

Jan van Beek

The “beloved” Dutch event rider and coach of the national juniors and young riders teams died on 8 July aged 42, following complications from an aneurysm.

Tributes have poured in for Mr van Beek, who had been due to accompany the youth teams to the European Championships in Fontaineblaeu, France, the following week.

Mr van Beek had represented his country at the 2006 World Equestrian Games and three European Championships, as well as leading the young riders to team European silver and individual bronze in 2017.

The Dutch equestrian federation (KNHS) described him as “always positive and enthusiastic for everyone”.

“How beloved Jan was among his pupils and fellow riders is also apparent from the enormous number of reactions that followed his death,” the federation said in a statement. “Jan leaves many stunned behind.”

Mr van Beek got his first pony aged five and, although once he moved on to horses he focused on showjumping, this shifted to eventing, for which he had “enormous passion”.
He also worked “tirelessly” as a trainer, and ran a training yard with his father in Rijsbergen.

“A company he had built up passionately and with pride into a modern, versatile company,” said the federation.

“We commemorate Jan as a tremendously enthusiastic and structured coach who, even as a rider, was still full of ambition.

“The KNHS wishes the family a lot of strength, and strength to give this terrible loss a place.”

John Dunlop

One of Britain’s most successful trainers, Mr Dunlop died on 7 July aged 78.

He trained more than 3,500 winners during his 46-year career, retiring in 2012.

He saddled Derby winners Shirley Heights in 1978 and Erhaab in 1994, and won both the St Leger and the 1,000 Guineas three times and the Oaks twice. He won 10 Classics and 74 Group One races.

Mr Dunlop was crowned champion Flat trainer in 1995 and appointed OBE for his charitable work in 1996.

National Trainers Federation (NTF) CEO Rupert Arnold was among many to pay tribute.

“As a trustee of the NTF Charitable Trust, John helped staff develop their skills and so forge a career in the sport,” he said. “This was typical of his approach to people — full of encouragement and practical support. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with all his family.”

Hans Günter Winkler

The five-time Olympic gold medal-winning German showjumper died this month aged 91.

He represented Germany at seven Olympic Games. As well as his five golds, he won Olympic silver and bronze medals, and back-to-back World Championship titles in 1954 and 1955.

He retired in 1986 and became a trainer, and served on the German equestrian federation’s jumping committee.

FEI president Ingmar De Vos described him as “the most gifted horseman of his day and a great ambassador for our sport”.

“His loss will be deeply felt,” said Mr De Vos. “The word ‘legend’ is overused, but it is the most fitting description of a man and an athlete who was a true legend.”

June

Denis Oliver

The eminent and much-loved equine veterinary surgeon has died at the age of 98, having not only been a practising vet on his own account, but also serving as chief vet and adviser to major shows, events and organisations throughout the UK and in Europe.

He was a Master of the Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF) and in 2015 was made a “Father” of the company. This was only the second time in 100 years the title had been awarded and, at the time, Mr Oliver was attending meetings regularly.

Mr Oliver gained his BSc and MRCVS qualifications with honours at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 1942, and took over a private practice in Grantham, Lincs, in 1943. He remained a senior partner until his retirement in 1984, but continued to do equine work as a consultant and was an official measurer for and advisor to the Joint Measurement Board.

In 1953, he was appointed honorary vet to The Royal Agricultural Society of England, and was the chief veterinary officer for the world-famous Royal Show from 1970 to 1994. As part of his duties, he drafted the health regulations governing entry for all livestock. He was appointed OBE in 1989 for services to the veterinary profession.

He served as president and senior vice-president of the British Veterinary Association, chairman of the Farriers’ Registration Council, senior vet at Market Rasen racecourse and honorary president of the Shire Horse Society.

He was heavily involved with Burghley Horse Trials, East of England Agricultural Society, the Horserace Betting Levy Board, the Royal International and Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), Riding for the Disabled and Weatherbys’ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and
Non-Thoroughbred Register.

Mr Oliver was passionate about passing on his knowledge, and provided invaluable research material for various equine and other animal welfare institutions.

In 1989, he re-designed the DipWCF examination and was a member of the WCF education sub-committee until 2000, specialising in teaching foot balance and heavy horse shoeing.

He worked closely with the ministry now called Defra, becoming a stallion inspector.

Following the scrapping of the Horse Breeding Act, he became honorary veterinary inspector and referee for the Shire Horse Society. In this role, he drew up a list of hereditary diseases in horses. The scheme was so successful it was introduced into sport horse breeding societies in Europe, Australia and America, and Mr Oliver was consulted by Weatherbys in the planning stage of regulations certifying freedom from hereditary diseases for non-thoroughbred horses.

He contributed to what became the Veterinary Surgeons’ Act and collaborated with surgical staff at the London Veterinary School in experimental surgery to repair injured equine tendons.

Known by all as a kindly, courteous man with an impish sense of humour, Mr Oliver is survived by his son Rob, daughter Ann, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Andrew Bayley-Machin

Tributes have been paid to the judge and commentator who died at the age of 41 on 20 June after an accident.

A statement from Senior Showing and Dressage Limited described Mr Bayley-Machin as “a star judge, commentator and friend” to the whole team.

“Andrew was a lovely, kind, caring young man who has been taken from us far too soon,” added the statement. “God bless you, Andrew, you will be remembered in the equine world as the true gentleman that you were.”

Stoneleigh Horse Show, for which he commentated, and the British Show Pony Society (BSPS) were among the many others to pay tribute.

“The society is very upset and shocked by the loss of Andrew, one of our judges, who was tragically killed,” said a spokesman for the BSPS.

“He will be sadly missed by us all. Our thoughts are with all the family at this difficult time.”

Rachael Reading

The prolific and successful breeder of Welsh cobs has died aged 66 having suffered from cancer for some years.

Ms Reading was born in Nottingham in 1951, moving to Bristol some years later. She worked at Bristol University and a bank and, after a move to Sidmouth, at a jeweller’s. In 1987, she became a saddler, moving to Llanarthne, Wales, in 1991.

She met her partner Philip, and the family moved to Llangain in 2001, where they established the Yarty Stud.

Ms Reading, also a Welsh Pony and Cob Society judge, bred and produced numerous successful Welsh ponies and cobs, who held the Yarty prefix. Among the most successful of her horses were Yarty Rhian, who qualified for HOYS in 2016 and 2017; Royal Windsor winner Yarty Royal Bonus and Yarty Daffyd Ddu, who qualified for Olympia in 2003.

In her eulogy, Ms Reading was remembered as “always happy to help people who needed it”.
Almost 300 people from across the country came to Narbeth Crematorium on 13 June to pay their last respects to Ms Reading, whose last journey was in a hearse drawn by Friesians.

Jack Dodd

The equestrian community in Ireland and beyond has been devastated by the loss of young showjumper Jack Dodd, who died on 6 June, aged 25.

The rider passed away in University Hospital, Maastricht, as a result of injuries he sustained in a car accident the previous week.

Jack, who grew up in Co. Mayo but moved to Balen, Belgium, last year to set up his own yard, had represented Ireland from youth to senior level, and in 2016 won a place on the prestigious International Young Riders Academy — a programme dedicated to young talented showjumpers.

“From his new base, Jack was hugely successful in young horse competitions and also in high-level international classes throughout Europe and was destined for a career at the top level of the sport before his life was tragically cut short,” said a spokesman for Horse Sport Ireland (HSI).

“On behalf of HSI, I wish to offer sincere condolences to Jack’s family and the many friends he made at home and when representing Ireland with distinction around the world,” said HSI CEO Ronan Murphy. “Jack was an extremely talented and hard-working young man and was much loved by all who met him.

“This is apparent in the many tributes paid to Jack since the tragic news of his passing. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Jack had previously been based with fellow Irish showjumper Bertram Allen in Germany, and had also worked with Cameron Hanley, Shane Breen and Cian O’Connor.

“So, so incredibly sad to learn of Jack Dodd’s passing,” said Cian. “Anybody who met Jack couldn’t help but be impressed by him. He was a class act in every respect and made an impact on us all.

“From day one, he was always polite, respectful and just a seriously genuine guy. These attributes were not taught to him in any of the yards where he learnt his trade, but were rather a testament to his parents Trish and David. My heart goes out to you both, but you can be very proud of your special boy.”

Cameron Hanley said he pushed Jack because he “believed in him so much”. “Jack, you were the nicest, most polite, funny, hard-working, sincere, kind lad I’ve had the pleasure to call my friend,” he said.

Irish showjumping development team manager Michael Blake, who had known Jack for many years, praised his work ethic, talent and dedication.

“I offer my heartfelt sympathy to his parents Trish and David, along with all his family and numerous friends,” he said.

“Jack, we will miss you terribly, you were truly one of life’s great guys. Rest in peace, heaven has gained an angel.”

May

David Moffat Thomson

Mr Thomson died on 10 May 2018, aged 89, after a “hugely active life in the community”.

Mr Thomson was born at Lambden, Scotland, and lived there all his life, marrying Claire and bringing up two daughters and a son. He had a great love of horses, winning 14 point-to-points and training numerous winners including his home-bred Half Awake to win the Greenall Whitley Handicap Chase at Haydock.

Mr Thomson was a steward at Kelso Racecourse for years and joined the board in 1973, serving as chairman from 1986 to 2004.

He was chairman of the Northern Area Point to Point Association for 18 years, during a popular time for the sport when entries were so large that races were often divided. In his latter years, he took a huge interest and great pride in his son Sandy’s successes on the racecourse.

“With his great commitment to racing, one has to wonder how he found the time to take on the role of master and huntsman of the Berwickshire Hunt, a role he performed with enormous skill for 16 years,” said friend Peter Leggate. “He was greatly helped by his two late joint-masters, Rob Tullie and Tom Morgan.

“Davie was a well-loved deputy lieutenant, an elder and session clerk of Eccles Church for many years, a great singer at many Burns’ suppers and community events and wonderful company.

“He will be greatly missed, for his company, his wise counsel and commitment to so many organisations. He touched the lives of countless people, who will miss him enormously.”
He is survived by sister Jean, son Sandy and daughters Alison and Jane.

John Marsh

The highly respected all-round horseman died suddenly on 29 May, aged 69.

John, formerly from Huddersfield, started life on the family farm. His involvement with horses began when working for Neville Helmsley doing hunters for him, and he later worked for the Ditchfield family producing their show horses. He went on to work for a number other people, including Sheila Noble and the Hon Janet Gibb.

Moving back to Yorkshire, John worked for others, including the Hayley family, before starting to produce for his own clients, at which he was extremely successful. When ill health caused him to retire, he would regularly be seen around the rings at shows. His great love in showing was the ladies’ hunter class, for which he taught several riders the art of side-saddle and fielded many major winners.

His funeral will take place on 14 June at 2pm at Huddersfield Crematorium.

Jaime Guerra Piedra

The Olympic showjumper died in his sleep on 29 May aged 54.

The Mexican rider represented his country at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

He also rode at the World Equestrian Games in 1994, 1998 and 2010.

Mr Guerra Piedra was still active within the sport until his death, with a number of horses competing at international level.

He won the leading showjumper title at Horse of the Year Show in 2011, producing the only double clear aboard Utopias.

A spokesman for the Mexican Equestrian Federation described Mr Gierra Piedra as “one of the greatest horsemen” that the country had ever seen.

“We deeply regret the departure of this prominent Olympic rider, a great friend and worthy representative on numerous occasions of our country in international competitions,” added the spokesman.

Jane Davies

The co-founder of the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund (MDIRF) died peacefully on 26 May aged 86.

Mrs Davies and her late husband, Michael, formed the charity in memory of their son, Mark, who died following a fall at Burghley Horse Trials in 1988.

The charity helps support riders who have had accidents and also campaigns on safety issues for riders.

“Jane was an incredibly brave woman and in the midst of her own grief at the loss of Mark, she was thinking of injured riders and how they could be supported,” said a tribute from the charity.

“Thanks to Jane the MDIRF has helped improve safety standards across the equestrian world.

“Jane’s legacy will continue to live on with the MDIRF and the work that we do. Jane will be forever remembered for her strong character and sharp wit.”

The spokesman added Mrs Davies’ work had helped contribute to improvements in hat standards as well as numerous developments in eventing safety, such as the design of table fences, as well as supporting “countless riders and their families”.

John Matthias

The multiple Group One-winning jockey died on 25 May aged 64 following a long illness.

Best-known as stable jockey to trainer Ian Balding, his first big race win was aboard Red Brigand in the 1974 Rosebery Handicap at Kempton Park.

He had much success aboard Glint Of Gold, winning the 1980 Gran Criterium and 1981 Grand Prix de Paris, Derby Italiano and Preis von Europa, as well as finishing runner-up in the Epsom Derby and St Leger the same year.

He rode a total of 424 winners in Britain over 19 seasons between 1972 and 1990.

George Yardley

The Welsh Grand National-winning trainer died last month aged 73.

Mr Yardley trained Deblin’s Green to win the 1973 Welsh National in soggy conditions, after four inches of snow on the Chepstow track melted in time for the race.

The horse also won the 1971 National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, with Derek Edmunds in the saddle, and ran in the 1972 and 1974 Grand Nationals.

Mr Yardley also had a successful riding career, with more than 50 winners as an amateur and in point-to-points.

Admiral Sir James Eberle

Admiral Sir James Eberle, or “Jim” to his friends in beagling and wider field sports, died on 17 May aged 90.

He had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, starting during World War II and rising to commander-in-chief, naval home command.

He later became the first non-academic chairman of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House.

The skills acquired in running the Britannia Beagles as master for a half-century set him in good stead for a career in Cold War diplomacy; negotiations there, Jim maintained, were as nothing to the travails necessary to the smooth running of a hunt.

Jim was held in high esteem by the farming community in the South Hams hills, over which his beagles ran from their base at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He was chairman of the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles at the time of the enactment of the hunting ban. Articulate in hunting’s defence, he was also a Countryside Alliance board member.

Never without a good story, Jim was the best of company and his easy charm endeared him to all.

He had an affinity with the young; after he gave up hunting his hounds in the 1970s,
he encouraged young huntsmen to enjoy the sport as much as he did.

He is survived by a son and two daughters.

Clarice Whiteway

The respected showing judge died on 19 May aged 96.
Formerly of Sussex, Hampshire and Shropshire, and latterly of Scotland, she was a much-loved figure, judging at major shows across the UK. She also bred successful horses.
After the death of her partner, judge Lewis Selby, Ms Whiteway moved to Hampshire near her niece Southerly Roberts, later moving to Scotland with her nephew Monty.
The National Show Pony Society said her passing was a “great loss” to the equine world.

Tommy Wade

The legendary Irish showjumper died on 13 May aged 80.

Mr Wade won Nations Cup and grand prix classes across the world as well as all five international classes at the 1963 Dublin Horse Show.

He was best known for his partnership with the 15hh Dundrum, with whom he won numerous classes including the puissance at Horse of the Year Show in 1961, as well as helping Ireland win the Aga Khan Trophy for the first time in 14 years at Dublin in 1963.

As chef d’equipe, he led Ireland to more than 30 Nations Cup victories and was at the helm when Ireland claimed the team title at the 2001 Europeans and individual gold at the 2002 World Equestrian Games.

He was presented with a Horse Sport Ireland hall of fame award at last year’s Dublin Horse Show by current Irish chef d’equipe, Rodrigo Pessoa, who described him as a “monument of the Irish team as a rider, and a great leader as chef d’equipe”.

The Irish team wore black armbands during the Nations Cup leg at La Baule in France (Sunday, 20 May) as a mark of respect.

Horse Sport Ireland chief executive Ronan Murphy also paid tribute to Mr Wade.

“He represented Ireland with distinction as a rider and was an incredibly gifted horseman,” said Mr Murphy.

“His record as chef d’equipe of the Irish team is phenomenal, not least in 1999/2000 when Tommy led Ireland to 10 Nations Cup wins in one season. He was a true legend of the sport.”

Di Hellyer

One of the country’s leading hunting personalities, Mrs Hellyer has died at the age of 92. She was a former joint-master of the Cottesmore and a highly successful hound breeder.

Mrs Hellyer hunted from childhood in the Holderness country, and served in World War II in the women’s volunteer corps, then the London Special Operations Executive office, which operated British agents in occupied countries.

After the war she worked as a secretary, and rode on exercise in Johnny Dines’ racing stables in Epsom, and later at Billy Dutton’s yard in Malton.

She enjoyed sharing her keen interest in racing and hunting with her husband Major Tim Hellyer, whom she married in 1949.

They moved from Yorkshire to the Shires in 1952, and settled permanently in 1954 in Braunston-in-Rutland, in the heart of the Cottesmore’s Tuesday country.

Major Hellyer was a field master for the Cottesmore and Mrs Hellyer point-to-pointed in Leicestershire with success.

On the hunting field she crossed country with style and was the first chairman of the Cottesmore Hunt Supporters’ Club from 1972 to 1976, joining the mastership in 1976 and serving until 1981.

She was in charge of the kennels and took great interest in the hounds. Her greatest success was breeding Cottesmore Baffle to win the Peterborough bitch championship in 1979.

She continued as a hound trustee until recent years and, after she gave up riding in her late seventies, continued to drive a car — often at great speeds — to follow the Cottesmore hounds in all weathers until some months before her death.

The couple and their son Bart bred successful National Hunt horses and had a number in training with Frank Cundell, Tim Forster, and Henry Daly.

Following Major Hellyer’s death in 1999, the family continued to produce home-bred racehorses, notably Young Spartacus, winner of the Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup at Cheltenham in 2003.

She is survived by their sons, Bart and Hugh.

Mrs Hellyer’s funeral will take place at All Saints Church in Braunston-in-Rutland today (Thursday, 24 May).

TP Burns

The former leading Irish jockey died on 14 May aged 94.

Mr Burns enjoyed success both on the Flat and over fences.

He won six Irish Classic titles and the St Leger, and also rode nine Cheltenham Festival winners during his career, which spanned six decades.

He rode his first win in 1938 aboard Prudent Rose at Curragh, and his last in 1989 on Old Man River at Punchestown.

All Mr Burns’ Cheltenham Festival winners were for Ballydoyle trainer Vincent O’Brien, for whom he also rode Ballymoss to win the 1957 Irish Derby, the St Leger and finish runner-up in the Epsom Derby all in the same year.

He also piloted the legendary Arkle to victory in a Flat race at Navan in 1963.
Mr Burns took the combined jump and Flat jockey championship title three times during his distinguished career.

Derek Christopher

The founder of Upperwood Farm Stud, Mr Christopher died peacefully at home on 2 May aged 88 after suffering from cancer.

Mr Christopher ran a yard and riding school with his wife Joyce in Harpenden, Herts, during the 1960s. They moved to the Gaddesden Estate in the 1970s, where they founded Upperwood Farm Stud.

The former police officer also founded the Gaddesden Estate permit ride, where members of the public can enjoy hacking, a grass gallop and cross-country fences in the grounds.

“He was the greatest friend to all of us at the Gaddesden Estate and a part of the team for almost 40 years, including 20 years’ involvement after his ‘retirement’,” said a tribute from the estate.

Mr Christopher also played a major part in the running of Hertfordshire County Show for 60 years and was a lifetime ambassador for the Hertfordshire Agricultural Society.

April

Caroline Church

The amateur dressage rider passed away aged 55 on 25 April, after a long illness.

Caroline rose to fame in dressage circles in 2016, when she won the Shearwater British Dressage young horse six-year-old championship with her own San Marco.
Caroline bought Marco from Isobel Wessels in March 2016 and was happy and grateful to have him to focus her attention on during her illness.

“He brought great joy to her life every day, and the excitement in having him to ride motivated her and kept her going,” said a friend. “She treasured the memory of her win at the national championships and was looking forward to achieving much more with Marco.

“Caroline had the most amazing determination and willpower, and would always look for the positive angle to any challenge she was faced with. With her infectious drive and enthusiasm, she refused to allow the illness to take over her life. She was never resentful and always just ‘got on with it’. She was adamant about not letting people know that she was unwell.”

It was Caroline’s wish that San Marco stays in the ownership of her son Will and twin sister Sarah.

Caroline also had a very successful career as an illustrator of children’s books. These have been translated into numerous languages and have sold over 10.5 million copies worldwide.

Friends and family met in Caroline’s studio in Hampshire on 12 May, to “celebrate her life and to remember her as the talented, generous and fun-loving lady that she was”.

Richard Atkinson

A stalwart of the showing world, Mr Atkinson died at home on 30 April aged 82.

He established Readwood Stables in Lancashire, where Nigel and Stuart Hollings started their showing careers in the late 1960s.

Mr Atkinson and his late wife, Pat, produced many winning hacks and ponies over the years, under the Readwood prefix. Their best-known horses include the large hack Good News and 1981 small hack Horse of the Year Show winner Moonlight Serenade.

They also produced the 1972 Royal International Horse Show 12.2hh show pony winner Chirk Seren Back for Jane Cook.

Jane Rook

A founding member of British Eventing, Mrs Rook died on 6 April, aged 81.

She was involved with eventing with her husband, the late Major Laurence Rook MC, from its inception in the 1950s.

Mrs Rook was part of the sport’s progression from its beginnings as the Combined Training Group, to its development into the British Horse Trials Association, which was renamed British Eventing (BE) in 2001.

She was chairman of the pony eventing programme in the 1990s, and the Jane Rook Trophy is presented annually to the leading British rider at the pony European Championships.

Major Rook was the first European eventing champion, a title he won at Badminton in 1953 on Starlight XV.

Mrs Rook gave the Laurence Rook trophy to Badminton after her husband’s death in 1989; it is still awarded to the highest-placed British first-timer.

The couple were also among the founders of the Horse Trials Support Group (HTSG).

Former HTSG chairman Rosemary Barlow said Mrs Rook will be remembered for her “love of all equestrian sports, her love of life, strength of character, an incredible hostess, her kindness and fun, but always making sure we did the right thing”.

“She would tell us what to do, but always in a very kind way,” said Mrs Barlow.

She added that Mrs Rook “loved” her involvement with the HTSG and was “amazing” as district commissioner of the Beaufort Hunt branch of the Pony Club and as BE pony programme chairman.

“All the children adored her and her generosity was legendary. She was a stickler for correctness,” said Mrs Barlow.

“Jane will be sorely missed and it has been a privilege to call her a true friend and someone who helped me so much throughout my time with the HTSG.”

Ralph A Mort

The honorary treasurer and secretary of the East Midlands Dressage Group (EMDG) riding club died in April, aged 83.

Mr Mort had a teaching career and his passions in life were his horses and dogs.
A tribute from EMDG said that many people will remember seeing Mr Mort following the Grove and Rufford aboard his “beautiful grey” Murphy.

“Ralph originally began with the EMDG back in the mid-1980s and has been with us ever since, being our backbone for whom nothing was too much trouble,” added the tribute.

“Many members speak fondly of how he encouraged them in the various clinics we held, never failing to attend our competitions and events and always had a cheerful disposition.

“He had a great sense of humour, was always so positive and helpful to all, a true gentleman.”

Jane Stephenson

The 39-year-old died in April, having suffered from cancer.

She cared for and competed the Blue Chip horses, owned by the feed company’s founder Clare Blaskey, for the past nine years.

Mrs Blaskey said Ms Stephenson “always had a smile on her face, a stroke for all the horses and a kiss for Blue Chip Forever”. She added that Ms Stephenson had formed a “fantastic partnership” with Blue Chip Forever, who was known as “Jools”, and the pair won more than 70 dressage classes together from novice to advanced medium.

They also took three regional titles and three national sport horse titles, as well as finishing second in the medium final at the winter dressage championships in 2016.

The combination, who also appeared in the Blue Chip All Star Academy television show, had been aiming to compete at international level.

“Jane also loved to teach children, working many weekends at the local riding schools
showing them how to ride and take care of their ponies,” added Mrs Blaskey.

“She taught my granddaughter Isabella to ride, and in the holidays she would spend the entire day in the stables with Jane.”

Ms Stephenson represented Britain on vaulting teams as a child and also bred her own dressage horse, Nanwass Special Agent, from her mother’s mare.

Her funeral takes place at Ashover Church in Ashover, Derbyshire, on 3 May at 2.30pm.

March

Mike Tucker

The equestrian world is mourning the loss of the voice of horse sport, Mike Tucker.

The legendary broadcaster and former top event rider died suddenly on 28 March aged 73.

Mike commentated at countless competitions, including six Olympics with the BBC. He called Britain’s gold medals at London and Rio, which he said was “a 
lifelong ambition”.
Mike evented internationally for 20 years — including competing at two European Championships — and was also a cross-country 
course-designer.

He rode round Badminton 12 times and was placed second in 1983 on General Bugle, a horse he bred at his farm.

Mike retired from BBC television commentary last spring after 40 years with the broadcaster, but continued to provide commentary at events.

Mike also had a passion for farming and ran Cotswold Wagyu with his son Andrew.
He had been a member of the FEI eventing committee, a steward for Cheltenham and field-master for the Duke of Beaufort’s hounds.

Mike leaves his wife Angela, Andrew, daughter Emma and his four grandchildren.
“Mike has been a stalwart of the equestrian, hunting and Cotswold farming community for many years and will be very sadly missed,” his family said. “More than that, he was a loving and devoted family man.”

Badminton Horse Trials, at which he commentated for more than 35 years, paid tribute to the “huge friend” of 
the event.

“He was universally liked and respected,” a Badminton spokesman said. “Mike had many varied aspects to his life — as a horse trials organiser, a course-designer, a racecourse steward, a cattle breeder — but above all as a family man. We will miss him enormously.”
British Eventing chief executive David Holmes mourned a “devoted supporter, outstanding commentator and wonderful friend”.

“Mike’s voice was so recognisable to anyone who followed the sport, but we are also forever grateful to him for bringing equestrian sport to so many new audiences through his knowledge, passion and enthusiasm during his career as a commentator,” he said.

The Olympia organising committee said it was deeply saddened. Mike had been committee chairman for two years and the show’s senior commentator for more than 30.

“Mike was a friend, provided wise counsel, and professional to the last,” said show director Simon Brooks-Ward. “He had huge integrity and was respected by all who had the privilege to know him. Furthermore, he was great company and had an immense sense of fun.”

Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn added that Mike, a “Hickstead regular and great friend”, will be sorely missed. “The Bunn family and the entire team at the All England Jumping Course would like to express their sincere condolences to Mike’s family,” she said.
Lynn Petersen, chief executive of the British Horse Society (BHS) said Mike was a “dear friend” of the BHS.

“He was a champion of charities and will be greatly missed,” she added.

Riders have also paid tribute.

William Fox-Pitt and his wife Alice Plunkett are “devastated”.

“Alice and I have been hugely supported and influenced by Mike throughout our respective careers in his role as a selector, and as course-designer at Burghley he shaped my career,” William said. “The equestrian world has lost a giant.”

Andrew Hoy said the world of equestrian sport had “lost its voice” and a “very dear friend”.

“He will always live in our hearts and his voice will forever be in our ears,” he said. 
A memorial service is being held on Tuesday, 10 April at 3pm, at St John the Baptist Church, Cirencester, and all are welcome.

Lindsay Jenkins

A top dressage judge, trainer and rider, Ms Jenkins died on 30 March aged 68 from cancer.

Born in Yorkshire to a farming family, Ms Jenkins started riding as a child and was first taught by Col Peter Hodgson.

Her career in the saddle started as an event rider — she worked for and trained with Henrietta Knight, competing up to CCI4*.

Henrietta suggested she ask Ferdi Eilberg for help with her dressage, which resulted in her moving exclusively to dressage in the early 1990s.

She made her international dressage debut in 1993 aboard the Lipizzaner mare Felicia, and went on to achieve success on the national and international stage with a number of horses.

Ms Jenkins had hoped to ride her husband Mike Middleton’s stallion Diamonit II at grand prix level, but her health meant this was not to be.

She continued to teach throughout her illness, achieving her UKCC level four coaching certificate.

Ms Jenkins also served as a list one dressage judge and an FEI eventing dressage judge.

Mr Middleton said his wife was “generous of her time to all things and people equestrian”.

“One never knows the level of courage we possess until such time as we face adversity,” he said.

“Lindsay demonstrated her remarkable personal strength in her comeback from a career-threatening back injury in 1998 and once more displayed her characteristic determination in fighting her illness.”

Hans Berger

The Swiss-born rider died on 18 March aged 66 from lung cancer.

Mr Berger moved to England in 1972 and was a frequent competitor on the national showjumping and eventing circuits.

He qualified as a farrier in 1992 and worked across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and North London.

Mr Berger is survived by wife Pat, son Robert, daughter Christina and four grandchildren.

Susan Townsend-Parker

A lifelong supporter of carriage driving, Mrs Townsend-Parker died on 31 March aged 74.

One of the first 100 members of the British Driving Society (BDS), Mrs Townsend-Parker twice took the national pony pairs championship title in the 1980s.

In 1964, Mrs Townsend-Parker was the first winner of the Langdon Dowsett Trophy, which is still presented annually to young drivers by the BDS.

She met her husband John Parker more than 50 years ago and the couple established the renowned carriage-driving yard Swingletree Stables in Norfolk.

Mrs Townsend-Parker also managed the Swingletree satellite yard on the Isle of Wight when she and her husband took over the contract from English Heritage to provide horse-drawn carriages at Osborne House.

The pair took part in drives across the world and she also spent 20 years as Father Christmas in the Olympia finale.

In addition, Mrs Townsend-Parker was a skilled maker of all types of driving harness.

Sir William Aldous

A leading light in the sport of eventing, Sir William died on 17 March, his 82nd birthday.

He had a lifelong passion for equestrian pursuits, enjoying hunting as well as being a great supporter of eventing.

He served as joint-master of the Cambridge University Drag Hounds from 1957 to 1959. He met his wife Gillian Henson, who survives him, while at university and the couple had three children.

In recent years, the pair frequently followed the Essex and Suffolk Hunt on foot.

Sir William had a highly successful legal career; he was made a High Court judge in 1988 — a position he held until 1995. He was then appointed to the Privy Council and appointed Chief Justice of Appeal.

He retired from the bench in 2003, although he remained an arbitrator in intellectual property cases and was also a member of the Gibraltar Court of Appeal until 2013.
He was involved in eventing as a steward and chairman of the British Eventing (BE) rules committee since 2000.

In 2005, he was appointed BE chairman and led the organisation through the problems surrounding the Windsor three-day-event’s finances. He also initiated the restructuring of BE’s committees.

Dr Pearse Lyons

The Irish-born entrepreneur and founder of global animal health company Alltech died on 8 March aged 73.

Dr Lyons started out in the brewing industry, using his skills to set up Alltech in 1980.
The company expanded rapidly and now employs more than 5,000 staff across the world. It was title sponsor of the 2010 and 2014 World Equestrian Games.

“Always immaculately dressed, complete with his trademark Panama hat, he was a truly visionary leader who inspired everyone he met with his passion for life and unwavering belief in every project he put the Alltech name to,” said FEI president Ingmar De Vos.

“He was a real family man, not just with his own immediate family and the global Alltech family, but he also embraced — and was embraced by — the equestrian family worldwide.
“He will be sadly missed.”

Dr Lyons is survived by wife Deirdre, daughter Aoife, son Mark and daughter-in-law Holly.

Major Iain Forbes-Cockell

A life-playing member of Guards Polo Club, Major Forbes-Cockell died on 3 March aged 65.

Known affectionately as “The Major”, he was a familiar face at the club’s Smith’s Lawn home for more than 40 years, as a player, umpire, commentator and military player liaison.

Major Forbes-Cockell was a former officer in the Life Guards as well as a much-admired writer and polo historian.

He leaves behind daughters Annabel and Emma.

His funeral will take place at the Holy Trinity Garrison Church, Windsor, on 29 March at noon.

George Peacock

A Respected showjumping judge, Mr Peacock died on 9 March at the age of 90.

He learned to ride as a child, enjoying hunting throughout his life and team-chased into his 60s, before hanging up his boots for the final time in 2000.

Mr Peacock served as a showjumping judge for more than 40 years, from the top end of British equestrian sport at the Great Yorkshire Show and Bramham Horse Trials, to organising the showjumping at his local Borrowby Show in North Yorkshire.

He spent many years as field master for the Hurworth and was also a dedicated supporter of the Pony Club, as well as a committee member.

He trained the Hurworth Hunt branch of the Pony Club’s mounted games team for many years and was presented with the organisation’s Cubitt Award for long service in 2011.

Mr Peacock was made an honorary life member of British Showjumping in 2009.

Ronnie Franklin

The US jockey has died aged 58 from lung cancer.

Mr Franklin was 19 when he piloted Spectacular Bid to victory in the first two legs of the US’ 1979 Triple Crown — the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The horse unfortunately stood on a safety pin in his stable ahead of the final race in the trio, the Belmont, in which he finished third.

Mr Franklin rode more than 1,400 winners from 9,242 starts during his 14-year career, which ran from 1978 to 1992, earning prize money of more than $14 million (£10.8 million).

He won the Eclipse Award in 1978 as the nation’s outstanding apprentice of the year.

February

Stewart Hastie

Leading vet Mr Hastie died on 
21 February aged 95.

Mr Hastie was awarded the British Equestrian Trade Association’s lifetime achievement award in 2013 for his contribution to the equine industry.

He graduated from Glasgow University in 1944 and started his career in general practice in Kent. In 1958 he moved to Buckingham, where he bought his own practice and developed his equine work.

Mr Hastie was a great contributor towards the knowledge and development of modern saddle-fitting and provided many years of service to the Society of Master Saddlers as its veterinary consultant. He was at the forefront of major studies on the effect saddles and girths have on the horse.

“When he retired from hands-on veterinary work he left a legacy of pursuing the very best in clinical excellence while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism,” said a tribute from Buckingham Equine Vets. “As a practice team we still strive to achieve these principles laid out by the father of our practice many decades ago.”

Mr Hastie worked closely with his wife, vet Jane, for 40 years.

A celebration of Mr Hastie’s life will take place at 11.30am on 24 April at the 1905 Suite in Whittlebury Park, Northants. Attendees should email 
cphastie@yahoo.ca in advance.

Alec Russell

The popular racing photographer, whose career spanned 60 years, died on 27 February aged 85.

Photography started as a hobby for the Yorkshireman, but after some time working for theatres he branched out into racing and made it his career.

He was presented with the photographer of the year accolade at the 1998 Horserace Writers and Photographers Association awards, and the lifetime achievement award in 2008.

Members of the racing world have paid tribute to “one of our greatest horseracing photographers”.

Fellow photographer Pat Healy described him as “one of life’s gentlemen”, adding: “Along with Gerry Cranham and Ed Byrne, he changed horseracing photography for what it is today.”

Cynthia Llewellen Palmer

A stalwart of the equestrian world, Mrs Llewellen Palmer died on 19 February aged 82.

She started in the Perth Hunt Pony Club and her parents hosted events at the family home, Hallyburton House, in Perthshire. These included the first ever one-day-event in the UK in 1952.

Mrs Llewellen Palmer rode at Badminton in 1959 and hunted with the Quorn and Beaufort through the 1960s and 1970s.

She later encouraged her four children and 13 grandchildren to ride. She hosted the Beaufort Hunt branch of the Pony Club camp, competed in dressage for much of her life and judged for more than 40 years. As well as this, Mrs Llewellen Palmer was selector for the British dressage junior team for six years and spent a long spell as a Pony Club area representative.

In 2016, she was presented with a lifetime achievement award by Badminton Horse Trials, where she volunteered as a fence judge and dressage writer.

Her funeral will take place at 
St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Great Somerford, Wilts, on 13 March at 3pm.

Veronica White

A pioneering figure in the showing world, Mrs White died on 25 February.

Mrs White was highly involved in equestrian sport throughout her life as a rider, owner, supporter and major sponsor. Her top horses included show hunters Dual Gold and Flashman, and star cob Kempley, who were all ridden by Robert Oliver. She sponsored numerous classes at Hickstead and Ponies Association (UK) shows over the years.

She was a familiar face on the hunting field, riding with the Crawley and Horsham, Ledbury, and the Burstow among others.

“She was instrumental in the growth of the modern showing world,” her son Anthony told H&H.

He added his mother was very kind and if anything needed doing, she would make sure it was done.

Mrs White raised more than £250,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley over the years.

Ponies Association (UK) chairman Carol Cooper was among the many to pay tribute to Mrs White.

“Veronica was a beautiful lady on the inside and out,” said Mrs Cooper. “She was a stalwart supporter and major sponsor of PUK from the early days.

“A vibrant, happy, colourful (purple) and extremely generous person. I personally have very fond memories of our families’ ties with Veronica and offer my sincere condolences from myself and the board of PUK to the beloved family she has left behind.”

Mrs White’s funeral will take place at 11am on Monday, 19 March at Worthing Crematorium, West Sussex.

Capt Dick Seaman

Capt Seaman, a familiar figure on the eventing circuit for many years, died on 15 Febuary aged 95.

Born in Jamaica in 1922, he served in the Royal Artillery after Harrow and, while in India during the war, rode in Flat races and was secretary of the Quetta Hunt, whose quarry was jackal.

He was aide-de-camp to the governor of Bermuda and returned to the UK to teach at the RMA Sandhurst, where he took up four-in-hand driving. He was later elected as a member of the Coaching Club.
He jumped out of Dakotas, flew a Tiger Moth and competed in motorbike trial riding. He also completed the Cresta Run.

As an amateur rider he was a member of the National Champion Riding Club showjumping team with the Hawley Riding Club, and enjoyed many years’ hunting with the Garth and South Berks.

A successful businessman after leaving the army, he enjoyed a year as master of the Worshipful Company of Launderers.

Capt Seaman was a BHS horse trials steward and cross-country steward at the popular Windsor three-day event.

He owned three Badminton and Burghley runners, Cabaret, Copper John and The Reverend, as well as Aintree Fox Hunters’ completer Ballyvoneen.

He also bred the Olympic Team gold medallist Justin Thyme, out of Cabaret.

His hospitality at eventing venue hotels or point-to-point car boots was enjoyed by many.

He is survived by his wife 
Fiona, children Julian and Katie, three grandchildren and one 
great-grandchild.

Ernest Templeton McMillen

A leading figure in the Pony Club, Mr McMillen died on 21 February aged 89.

Mr McMillen led the organisation from 1985 to 1991 and would visit branches across the British Isles, as well as the largest and smallest area competitions to meet as many members and volunteers as possible. One of his successes was the creation of the Pony Club’s centre membership.

Mr McMillen was an entrepreneur and ran an insurance brokerage in Belfast, owned a hotel in Newtownards, Co. Down, and turned around the fortunes of a carpet factory in Saintfield.

He was also an international rally driver and finished 19th in the 1960 Monte Carlo rally.

He took up riding in his mid-30s when his children developed an interest in horses and went on to serve as master of North Down foxhounds from 1978 to 1982.

Mr McMillen was made a life vice-president of the Pony Club 
in 2000 and was appointed MBE in 2004.

David Barons

The Grand National-winning trainer died in February aged 81.

Mr Barons saddled more than 950 winners during his 33-year training career. He is best known for his 1991 Grand National winner Seagram, one of a number of top horses Mr Barons imported from New Zealand.

He also had back-to-back victories in the Hennessy Gold Cup, now the Ladbrokes Trophy, 
at Newbury, with Broadheath in 1986, followed by Playschool in 1987 — both of whom were ridden by Paul Nicholls.

The 10-time champion trainer said he had his “best spell as a jockey” while working for Mr Barons and also enjoyed his time there as assistant trainer after retiring from race-riding.

Vicki Macrae

The highly respected former showing judge, competitor and trainer has died aged 75 after a long illness.

Mrs Macrae, who also enjoyed hunting and team chasing — the latter with the Odds and Sods — was renowned for her passionate love of horses.

Among her successful show animals were working cob Mr Chippendale, who was virtually unbeaten on the county circuit; middleweight hunter Ratzo Ritzo and home-bred coloured mare Beryl, who gave her a highly prized best turned-out award from a class of more than 40 at the Royal International Horse Show.

Mrs Macrae also enjoyed training individuals to achieve their personal bests, and once coached Britain’s Olympic pentathletes in the equestrian phase of the competition. She also ran Stocklands Equestrian Centre for several years.

She was a member of five judging panels and, with her long-time partner Cliff Jarvis as legger-up, once officiated at Richmond, Swansea and Burnley shows on three successive days, clocking up more than 660 miles and riding more than 230 horses.

Mrs Macrae’s funeral takes place at 2.15pm on 15 March at Guildford Crematorium.

Rod Kohler

Tributes have been paid to Mr Kohler, who has died from cancer at 48.

He was
joint managing director of Revolution Sports + Entertainment, an international sports PR and sponsorship agency, which he founded in 2005.

Mr Kohler worked on behalf of Rolex at five FEI World Cup finals, two European Championships and saw the launch of the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping in 2013.

He was especially proud of his role as press attaché to the Saudi Equestrian showjumping team’s historic bronze at London 2012.

Mr Kohler also led the team managing PR for Royal Windsor.

Andrew Baldock, chairman of the British Equestrian Writers’ Association, said Mr Kohler was a “lovely man, a total professional and someone who always had the time of day for you”.

“He was the most wonderful company,” he added. “I feel privileged to have known Rod. He truly was one of the very best.”

Sheila Campbell

A stalwart of the equestrian world, Mrs Campbell died on 
28 January aged 90.

She first married Jim Hallam, with whom she had three children.

Mrs Campbell was chairman of West Lancashire Riding Club, and the Northern Liaison Group of riding clubs in the 1970s, and was district commissioner of the Wheelton Pony Club.

After her husband’s death, she moved to Penrith, Cumbria, with second husband, David Campbell, where she was district commissioner of the Cumberland Farmers’ Hunt South branch.

She was also a dressage judge, an eventing judge, helper and supporter, and a breeder.

Anne Uwin

A pivotal figure in the Arab 
horse community, Mrs Unwin died on 3 February aged 87.

She married John Unwin in 1954 and the pair founded a stud at Topcroft Hall in Suffolk. The couple moved to Nethercroft Farm, Suffolk, in the 1970s and joined forces with Eileen and John Tatum to import the stallion Marawan.

Mrs Unwin also played a leading role in securing the return of Arab racing to Britain.

Her funeral will take place at East Rudham Church, Norfolk, at 1pm on 20 February.

Malcolm Jefferson

The Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer died on 2 February aged 71.

Mr Jefferson’s first success at the Festival came in 1994 with Tindari in the Hurdle Final. The following year he became the first British trainer to win the Champion Bumper, with Dato Star.

In 2012 he saddled a double of winners at the Festival, Cape Tribulation and Attaglance.

“His experienced and guiding hand has benefited not only the horses and staff in his care, but the racing community in Malton and the north for many years,” said BHA chief executive Nick Rust.

January

Janet Dianne 
Bettell-Higgins

A founder member of Kipling County Carriage Driving, Mrs Bettell-Higgins died on 22 January aged 73.

As a child, she would help with ponies on Hunstanton beach at weekends and would also assist with transporting holidaymakers in a trap from the railway station.

After she left school, she spent a year training at an Arab stud near Norwich, after which she went on to a job with the Kirby Cane Welsh Pony Stud.

Mrs Bettell-Higgins married her husband Larry in 1965 and spent the following two years working under Nancy Wheeler at Home Farm Riding Stables in Norfolk.

She went on to form the Battenhurst Riding & Livery Yard and also enjoyed many successes in driving trials.

In 1985 she joined a Riding for the Disabled Association group at Heron’s Ghyll, co-founding her own group, Kipling County Carriage Driving, in 1996, which is still going strong today.

Willie Codd

The leading Irish point-to-point trainer died on 31 January aged 43.

Mr Codd had much success as a jockey and a trainer, and also had a passion for eventing.

He rode 58 winners between 1992 and 2005, including the Champion Hunter Chase at the 2003 Punchestown Festival aboard What Odds.

As a trainer, he was responsible for producing numerous young horses, including Tranquil Sea, who went on to win 13 races under Rules including the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in 2010.

He saddled his last winner, Bold Sky, in a mares’ maiden at Tinahely on 14 January.

Jean-Margaret (JM) Cunningham

A dedicated eventing supporter, Mrs Cunningham died in January aged 81.

Mrs Cunningham owned many top horses over the last 30 years.

Despite a 16-year battle with inoperable cancer, involving 129 rounds of chemotherapy, her illness never interfered with her ability to follow her horses.

She owned horses for Mark Todd, Leslie Law, Andrew Nicholson, Sarah Kellard and Katie Parker among others.

Mrs Cunningham could often be spotted at events watching her horses from her green Range Rover, with a silver horse adorning the bonnet, and was also known for her legendary picnics.

Her eventers included Warren Gorse, who finished second under Mark Todd at the 1998 young horse championships in Le Lion, Fulham Fair, Super Sloane and a share in four-star campaigner Hello Henry.

She ran the dressage stewarding at several events, including Longleat and Nunney, and was also awarded the Cubitt Award for her help with the Wyle Balley branch of the Pony Club.

A memorial service will take place on 15 February at 3pm at St Andrew’s Church in Mells, Wiltshire.

Richard Woollacott

The racing world is mourning the death of Mr Woollacott, who died on 23 January aged 40.

Mr Woollacott had saddled 60 winners since receiving his licence in 2008, including the Grade Two bumper at Aintree with Lalor and the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury with Beer Goggles.

He was also a very successful point-to-point rider, taking the Devon & Cornwall championship nine times and the national title in 2010.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust said the organisation is doing all it can to support Mr Woollacott’s family.

“It is simply tragic to lose someone so young, and who had so much to offer both the racing world and, more importantly, his young family,” said Mr Rust.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and indeed all the horses who Richard cared for in his all-too-short time as a trainer, and who will no doubt miss him greatly.”

Mr Woollacott’s funeral will take place at 2pm on 11 February at the church of St Mary the Virgin in Bishops Nympton, Devon.

Benjamin Frank 
(Bay) Lane

A pioneering showjumper, Mr Lane died on 29 January aged 89.

A slip of the tongue resulted in his nickname — when he was born, Mr Lane’s father announced “it’s 
a bay!”, which stuck.

When he was young his father would often lift him on to the backs of plough horses. He became more involved in his father’s farming and dealing business as he grew up. His riding career also blossomed as he progressed from gymkhanas to international showjumping.

Mr Lane was a member of the first British Nations Cup team to travel abroad following World War II, competing in Nice in 1948.

His top horse, Trueman, was found on a trip to Dublin Horse Show in the 1950s.

The combination won speed classes at the Horse of the Year Show in three consecutive years from 1959 to 1961.

He was also a familiar figure on the West Warwickshire hunting field and had a passion for racing and point-to-pointing. A true horseman until his death, Mr Lane continued to buy and ride youngsters until the age of 83.

His funeral is to take place at St James’ Church, Alveston, Warks, on 12 February.

Stephen Davenport

An expert horseman, Mr Davenport died on 24 January aged 73.

He was showjumping and hunting before he was 10, and went on to enjoy a successful racing career.

He became champion amateur in 1964, riding 192 winners that season and finishing fourth in the Grand National aboard the 66-1 shot Eternal. After turning professional, one of his greatest victories was with Surcharge in the 1968 Topham Chase at Aintree.

Mr Davenport set up a training yard at Mobberley, Cheshire, before establishing a successful breeding programme.

Among the top horses he bred were international showjumpers Jordan II, One Man, Newton Nickel and Zoe II.

Michael Higgens

One of Ireland’s best-known hunting figures, Mr Higgens died on 28 January aged 76.

Master of the Tipperary for 18 seasons, he bred a first-class pack of modern foxhounds.

He started his career with the late Captain Charlie Barclay of the Puckeridge in Britain, before venturing to the Findon Harriers in Victoria, Australia. He decided Ireland was more suited to him and moved to north Wexford in the late 1960s to serve as kennel-huntsman at the Island. In 1970 he was appointed master of the East Galway, moving to the Tipperary as 
master and huntsman in 1973.

Mr Higgens was a successful breeder of foxhounds; the Tipperary hounds won many classes in Britain and at Peterborough. He was also 
a respected hound judge on 
both sides of the Irish Sea.

He later hunted the Avondhu for a season in the 1990s and helped breed the Golden Vale hounds, moving on to the Kilmoganny in 1993, where he served for six seasons.

After retiring in 1999, he continued to hunt and this year rode with the Tipperary to mark his 50th season in Ireland.

Brigit Powell

A Dedicated dressage judge, owner and supporter of the sport, Mrs Powell died in January at the age of 84.

A chance meeting with Isobel Wessells at a judges’ course in Cornwall led to a great partnership. Mrs Powell expressed an interest in buying a horse with Isobel, which resulted in her 
co-owning Isobel’s grand prix horse Chagall.

She was an active member of the British Dressage Supporters Club and frequently judged at shows in Cornwall and Devon.

Peter Casey

Multiple Grade One-winning trainer Mr Casey died on 27 January aged 82.

The Irishman enjoyed three Grade One victories with Flemenstar. The first of these came at Leopardstown in January 2012. His stable star went on to win the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse that April, before taking the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown in December 2013.

His funeral was held on 31 January in Balscadden.

Helen Webber

A former British youth team selector and list one dressage judge, Mrs Webber died this month aged 88.

Mrs Webber (pictured, above right) gave much support to the British Horse Society (BHS) in all aspects of horsemanship, including as an examiner, and gained her BHS Fellowship in 1964.

She received the BHS award of merit in 1996 and the Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

Mrs Webber competed in eventing before switching to dressage, where she rode up to grand prix level.

She became a British Dressage (BD) list one judge and selector for the junior and young rider teams.

“She gave excellent advice and gained enormous respect from the young people who were guided by her honesty and her genuine enthusiasm for their successes,” said Jennie Loriston-Clarke.

“Helen was a trainer of judges and part of the team which set up today’s judging programme.

“Her knowledge, fairness and even more, her sense of humour will be sorely missed.”

BD interim judges director Peter Storr added: “Helen was a very nice, practical and down-to-earth person who always had time to explain and offer advice. She’ll be greatly missed.”

Wilhelm (Willi) Melliger

Double Olympic silver medallist Mr Melliger has died aged 64.

The Swiss showjumper (pictured, right) rode Calvaro V to individual silver at the 1996 Atlanta Games and the combination was also part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2000 Sydney Games.

The pair also enjoyed a run of success at two consecutive European Championships, winning individual bronze and team gold on home turf in 1995 and individual bronze in Germany two years later.

Mary Hambro

Bloodstick pioneer and eventing supporter Mrs Hambro died on 3 January aged 67.

She was the first bloodstock consignor in Britain, professionally preparing and showing horses at the sales, as well as a successful racehorse trainer, owner and breeder.

Among the horses Mrs Hambro bred was the 1989 Ebor winner Sapience.

A spokesman for British Eventing said Mrs Hambro was a “vital part” of its stewarding team from the 1990s onwards and also a “much valued” FEI steward.

Anne Grossick

The equestrian photographer has died aged 64.

Mrs Grossick ran the photographic company Grossick Photography with her husband John and she was a well-known figure at racecourses across Britain and Scotland.

The pair built the business up from scratch and covered all manner of equestrian events, specialising in racing.

Mrs Grossick was chosen as the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association photographer of the year in 2001.

John Lynch

The director of transport company Five Star Bloodstock died on 12 January aged 63.

Mr Lynch was a familiar figure in the British and Irish racing communities.

Trainer Gordon Elliott was among the many to pay tribute.

“He will be badly missed by all his family, friends and customers,” said Mr Elliott.

Bryn Crossley

The former champion apprentice jockey died on 7 January aged 59.

Mr Crossley won the apprenticeship title in 1981 with 
45 winners and rode more than 200 winners in his 18-year career.

His major victories included the Group 3 Fillies’ Mile aboard Nepula at Newmarket in 1993, the 1982 Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster and 1981 Old Newton Cup at Haydock.

Patricia Gillian (Jill) Thomson

The “selfless and inspirational” mother of Mary King died on 8 January aged 81.

Mary credited her mother, 
a well-known face at events, 
with making her own career as 
an event rider possible.

Although not horsey herself, Mrs Thomson (above) would always be seen supporting her daughter and granddaughter, Emily, at competitions. A week before Christmas, she passed 
a medical to allow her to continue driving the lorry for another year.

“She was an angel for so many people and I have been so lucky to have such an inspirational mummy,” said Mary.

“She told me to always smile — when I came out of the ring whether I had fallen off or won, 
she insisted that I always smile.”

When Mary’s children were young, her mother would care for them so Mary could ride. She would also drive the horsebox 
to and from events to give Mary time with her children.

She did not only dedicate her time to her own family, but many others who needed help.

She fostered 36 children over the years, was a verger at her local church, a Guiding volunteer and treasurer of the Axe Vale branch of the Pony Club. She also helped to care for older people in the community, taught bell-ringing, ran a community badminton club and a free playgroup.

A service of thanksgiving will take place on 25 January at 12pm at Salcombe Regis Church with a dress code of “colourful clothes and happy faces”.

Roy Bird

A Long-serving friend to the equestrian world, Mr Bird died on 4 January aged 91.

Mr Bird, from Peterborough, served on the Burghley Horse Trials committee for more than 50 years.

Following six years in the army, he started working at Peterborough Agricultural Society.

He was appointed chief executive 20 years later when it became the East of England Agricultural Society.

He oversaw the development of the East of England Showground and also worked as secretary of the Royal Peterborough Hound Show and president of Ponies Association (UK).

He was appointed secretary of the Shire Horse Society and around 55 years ago he was tasked with “winding up” the company.

“He did quite the opposite,” said Victoria Clayton, current secretary.

“The society thrived under his tenure and without Mr Bird’s efforts the society is highly likely to not be in existence.”

She added that one of his most significant contributions was the introduction of the stallion premium scheme, which helps owners with the costs of keeping an animal entire.

“Mr Bird’s dedication to the Shire horse breed is an example 
to all,” added Ms Clayton.